Advanced technology for African skies
Montréal, Canada 25 September: Today, attending States of the ICAO General Assembly, together with South Africa’s Air Traffic and Navigation Service (ATNS) Company, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), celebrated the imminent commissioning of two advanced satellite-based communication networks. The two aeronautical communication networks will connect the air traffic control centres of 25 African and 2 Middle East states, maximising aviation safety and efficiency across the continent.
“The upgraded Very Small Aperture (VSAT) 2 networks will be able to support new communication, navigation and surveillance technologies for communication between air traffic control centres within Africa thus making is safer for airlines operating in and over Africa. These operating procedures and technologies, including Reduced Vertical Separation (RVSM), have become part of normal operating practice for air navigation service providers and airlines internationally, with avionics to fully utilize these services now forming part of the standard equipment carried on board new generation aircraft,” said Wrenelle Stander, CEO of ATNS.
“Africa is currently the smallest region for air traffic services, accounting for only 4.1% of total world passenger traffic. Upgrading communication and navigation systems will strategically align the continent to provide world class aviation services, which are integral to further developing the African economy,” added Stander.
By implementing SADC VSAT 2, air traffic control centres within 13 African states within the Southern African region, (as well as Rwanda and Burundi) will be connected.
The second system, called NAFISAT, will operate within the North East African and Indian Ocean region, connecting 13 of these states, including sites in the Middle East, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.. “In addition to this, plans to interface with Mumbai and India in the near future are on the table,” said Stander.
“Another great advantage of both systems is the network management system capability that will allow ATNS, as designated manager of both networks, to identify a faulty site in the network system remotely,” added Stander. “This capability will enable us to respond proactively to problems in the network, therefore improving the availability of the overall network.”
A VSAT terminal has already been installed at the ATNS Training Academy in SA and training programmes around the maintenance and management of the remote terminals have been provided for all the SADC and NAFISAT states.